South Africa is by far the economic powerhouse of Africa, and the key elements of its transportation system – the roads, rails and airport – reflect this. There are large, well-maintained highways and long-distance rails connecting all the major cities, which, along with the airways, provide a range of choice when it comes to traveling between areas.
Numerous domestic and international airlines run flights between Cape Town, the rest of the country, and the rest of the world. It’s difficult to answer the question of whether they should be considered expensive, as that will surely depend on the corner of the world from which you hail. Considering local fuel prices, for one person traveling alone, they are cheaper than driving the same distance, but (usually) more costly than taking the rail. Below are domestic flight prices from a few national airlines for comparison’s sake below. Note that flights on the same airline, even on the same day, can vary by thousands of ZAR depending on demand. Always check dates within a month of your intended departure to find good deals.
Mango Airlines: Cape Town to Johannesburg, Return: R770
Cape Town to Durban, Return: R474
Visit http://www.flymango.com for a quote, or call 021 936 2848 for more information.
Kulula.com: Cape Town to Johannesburg, Return: R799
Cape Town to Durban, Return: R549
Visit http://www.kulula.com for a quote, or call 0861 585 852 for more information.
South African Airways (SAA): Cape Town to Johannesburg: R1920
Cape Town to Durban: R1610
Visit http://www.flysaa.com for a quote, or call 0861 359 722 for more information.
Within Cape Town, the roads are well kept, and having a car is generally the most convenient way to get around (surpassed during rush hour by motorcycles and scooters, which are pleasant to drive in summer). Having a car is also the safer option when it comes to avoiding theft and assault, which is not uncommon in and around South African train stations, even more so the deeper into the suburbs you go. Hijackings are a rare occurrence in the city, unlike Johannesburg, where every other person seems to have borne firsthand witness to at least one.
That said, driving is also more costly, especially if you’re commuting from a relatively distant suburb such as Hout Bay or Muizenberg. Getting to Cape Town from Hout Bay by car would cost you around R20 in fuel, compared to a R10 bus ticket. A train ticket from Muizenberg might cost R14, compared to the R25 to R30 you’d spend on fuel.